acciughe – anchovies

Anchovies: you either love ‘em or you hate ‘em, especially in their preserved form – salted or in oil, in which they are only for aficionados of hard-core fishiness. I love them, but I must admit, it took a few years to acquire the taste. They’re one of the first things you’re likely to come across in Messina, part of the traditional focaccia topping of tomatoes, tuma cheese and escarole. Their salty, primeval kick can Continue Reading →

alalunga fritta con salmoriglio alla menta – fried albacore with lemon and mint dressing

I have been accused by some ­­– well, practically everybody who has had the dubious pleasure of food shopping in my company – of striking the fear of God into market traders. I have been told that they look on anxiously as I prod, sniff and scrutinise their produce, like the lead-up to one of those “The man from del Monte says ‘yes’” moments. Except of course that I don’t always say yes. And apparently Continue Reading →

zuppa di pesce – fish soup

Last week’s ragù di tonno didn’t go down too well. I was even told off for applying the word “ragù” to fish. So this time something classic, that will hopefully keep the purists happy. What’s more, this dish for me is a benchmark. When I try a new fish restaurant, I will always try to order it, even if it’s not on the menu. Just as when I try a new bar, I ask the Continue Reading →

pasta al ragù di tonno – pasta with tuna ragù

Yes, tuna again, and brace yourselves, because there’s more lined up. This is tuna season, so what do you expect? And as you’ve probably realised by now, I just can’t get enough of the stuff… Today’s recipe is from Trapani, where they sometimes also add peas, which strikes me as a rare Sicilian ingredient slip-up. I personally love peas, but they are at their best when in similarly green company: simply dressed with butter and Continue Reading →

spaghetti con mosciame – spaghetti with dry-cured tuna

No, before you ask, I am not a paid-up employee of the Tuna Marketing Board. Yes, I know, I posted a tuna recipe only last week, but that’s just a coincidence. Admittedly, with my love for tuna, let’s just say it was a coincidence waiting to happen. However, fishy coincidences aside, I’m sure you’re all wondering just what mosciame is. Quite a few Sicilians from this side of the island don’t know either, so you’re Continue Reading →

spigola con salmoriglio – sea bass with Sicilian vinaigrette

This is so easy to make that it’s hardly a recipe at all, but then again it’s such a crucial part of Sicilian seafood cookery that I could hardly leave it out. Salmoriglio is the fundamental condiment for grilled fish here, be it swordfish, tuna, sea bass, gilt-head bream … With something so simple, the quality of your raw materials is what makes all the difference. Now, I’m obviously spoilt here, as you would expect. Continue Reading →

pasta al sugo di capone – pasta with dolphinfish

Not for the first time, and not for the last either, I’ll warrant, we come up against the problem of names. This time in both English and Italian, just to make things fair. In English, these creatures that look like they’ve swum into a wall nose-first are called dolphinfish or mahi-mahi (which of course is not English, but Hawaiian, for the record). I don’t know why, and as you can see, they’re not likely to Continue Reading →